Healthier chocolate cream, roasted barley, pear

Healthier chocolate cream, roasted barley, pear

Nordic Light
30 mins
Cooking time
180 mins
Simon Bajada

As a lover of dark, bitter chocolate this dessert works for me, the sweetness coming from the dates and the creaminess from the avocado. Should you have any, left-over chocolate cream will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, with the flavours actually benefitting from having this extra time to meld together and develop further.


Quantity Ingredient
4 pitted dates
2 avocados, stones removed
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon espresso or cold brewed coffee, (optional)
1 tablespoon honey
squeeze lemon juice
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1-2 tablespoons milk, (optional)

Roasted barley

Quantity Ingredient
110g pearl barley
1 teaspoon dark malt powder
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted


Quantity Ingredient
110g white granulated sugar
1 sensational or beurre bosc pear, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandoline


  1. For the roasted barley, add the pearl barley to a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 40 minutes, then drain and rinse well. Strain, tip onto a baking tray in an even layer and leave to dry (this will take at least an hour depending on the climate in your kitchen).
  2. Preheat the oven to 110°C and line three large baking trays with baking paper.
  3. For the pears, place the sugar on a plate and press the pear slices into it to coat evenly on both sides. Arrange the slices on two of the prepared trays and bake for 1 hour, then turn over and cook for a further 1 hour, until lightly caramelised. Leave to cool on wire racks for 15–20 minutes until crisp.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 180°C. Mix together the dried barley with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and arrange teaspoon-sized mounds of the mixture on the remaining lined baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, until crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  5. To make the chocolate cream, put the dates, avocados, cacao powder, coconut oil, espresso, honey and lemon juice in a food processor and blend together until smooth.
  6. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set it over a saucepan of simmering water and stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Pour the melted chocolate into the food processor and blend together with the other ingredients until the chocolate is evenly incorporated and the consistency is that of thick Greek-style yoghurt. If it’s a little too thick you can add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it down. Spoon the chocolate cream into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to completely cool and set.
  7. To serve, spoon the chocolate cream into serving bowls and top with the barley clumps and dried pear slices.
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